Weird and Dead Stuff

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A TOURIST doesn't know where he's been.  A TRAVELER doesn't know where he's going

Paul Therou




We went to a gem show in Springfield, Mass, then headed NW towards Vermont.  These photos are still in Massachusetts
A great authentic German Restaurant - Hofbrauhaus -  in West Springfield, Mass.

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Stone churches, Holyoke, Mass.

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Flowers and a rustic view of fence and stony field on a farm road off Hwy 112 on Shaw Road near Ashfield, Mass.

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City Hall building, downtown Northampton (home of Smith College)



Far in the distance on this farm road were cows and this huge new building - turned out to be the Sanderson School Academy, "in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains".  Wow.

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An  unlikely Indian souvenir store in Charlemont, MA, with a VERY LARGE Indian statue outside

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Did we go south by mistake?  Here we are in FLORIDA - oh, Florida, Massachusetts!

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A REAL hairpin turn, just south of North Adams MA, see the  GPS screen and the road sign?  It was just as sharp as it shows!

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MOOSE FEST, Bennington, Vermont

We discovered quite by accident that Bennington had a Moosefest Sculpture painting contest & auction in 2005 and in 2009.  So we set out to find most of them with the help of a map, finding many of the 2005 moose as well.  What a treasure hunt!

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Here are photos of the unpainted moose being delivered to Bennington for the artists to paint.  Photo credit to the Northside Diner where the Snow Drifter moose is found:

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Beautiful farming fields and blue skies, called "Wind Weaver".  The first we found at the delicious Apple Barn Bakery south of Burlington near Pownal VT

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A cornucopia of fruits & vegetables in front of the Chamber of Commerce named "Just your garden-variety Moose"

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Flowers outside the cozy Chamber of  Commerce

Some moose were miniatures in store windows, some painted by children

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"Jackson Splattermoose"

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Sunflower field moose

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A Santa Moose!

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A beautiful bronze colored moose called "We Are One" because it is one of three moose in a cluster setting.  Below is the baby, and the Papa

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Van  Gogh "Starry Night" themed moose called "Vincent" 

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A dolphin & orca killer whale covered baby moose called "Shamoose"

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A mother moose beside it with tilled fields and flowers

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A mosaic moose of hundreds of photos called "Picture This"

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A colorful race flag moose named "Morpheus"

School kids were included by making puzzle pieces with moose

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and a mini moose painted by kids also as a Van Gogh

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The Peace Make Love Not War Moose actually named "Ziggy the Hippy-Pot-O- Moose

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"Save the Planet - it's the only one with CHOCOLATE" sign in a book store

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A favorite - a Pirate Moose!  Note the treasure chest, skull, daggers, & parrot called "Captain Jack Mooso" of course

This church was for sale in Bennington.  A tempting thought

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A "Circus Moose on the Loose" & baby team with acrobat & clown up top!

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A sunset scene on the outside, a hole cut to the middle with a sleepy village scene inside, called "Moosarama"

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A romantic Victorian scene, home, rose gardens, bridge, grandfather's clock painted on a Moose Mama and baby "called Mother Moose - Fairy Tales &  Bedtime Rhymes".  We met the talented artist Lindsey Woodie too!

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A bucolic scene including a gazebo & weeping willow tree on another pair down the street, called "Vermont's Gift" and "Vermont's Legacy"

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Another favorite - "Scoops", the ice cream moose in front of a convenience & ice cream shop

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A gorgeous paint job on this psychedelic pair, can you tell it's another fave?  Named simply "Peace"

An old fashioned picnic gathering scene outside a stone restaurant

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Named "Le Dejeuner sur l'elan" translated:  Lunch on the dash

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A wonderful Camping Moose, outfitted with hiking boots, little buddies moose & lookout bear up top, a raccoon below.  Named "On the Trail Again".  Precious.

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A Moose for all Seasons in pastel floral colors

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Daisies & purple flowers in front of the Bennington Pottery shops

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This Moose is half outside the glass foyer, half inside.  What a hoot.

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3D Painted Tiffany Lamp style as a grape vineyard.  Lovely.  Named "Mr. L.C. Tiffany (Wisteria)"  Even a butterfly on its nose.

An elaborately created green  Sunflower Harley moose with side car, named Moosey  BB Goode & Green".  Note the head lamps, the flames on the sidecar, the LED lights in the sunflowers so it is LIT UP at night; the exhaust pipes. 

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 "I Brake for Sunflowers" sign on the back, a license plate on its butt, more LED lights on his tail; the handlebars and footrest, rear view mirror.

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One mean dude of a moose!  Notice the tire base and diamond patterned aluminum hooves and flames.  It is in front of the Tuscan Sunflower store

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The Wizard in robe, hat, beard & spectacles, worthy of a Harry Potter movie.  Called "Mystical Moose"

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Arctic moose of a snow scene, complete with "ice" on antlers and eyelashes, named "Snowdrifter"

A moose family of 3 north of town at the Chamber of Commerce.

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Papa moose with a colorful sunset on his sides, and campfire on his head called "Chief Wandering Bull Moose"

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Mother "Inuit-Yupik-A Moose" wearing a deerskin painted coat and a flower garden flank on one side, Arctic Sea with ice & polar bears on the other flank, seals underneath (Eskimo theme).

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and calf is "C. Wobigo Megeso Moose" with an intricately beaded necklace and other beading on head and knees

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A recycle moose calf in the Chamber

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Moose at an ice cream stand with an outdoor scene (where everyone is eating - what else?  ICE CREAM) on its body, and waffle textured antlers.  Named "Lickety Split"

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Covered in road signs, appropriately found at the Honda/Toyota car dealership named "Charlie"

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Leaf decoupage moose named "Benn"

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Chocolate wrappers from around the world (yum!).  Called "Chocolate Mousse"

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An artfully painted & colorful moose called "Moose Ink", dedicated to the memory of Cory Hunter

A  picturesque train station in old town Bennington

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This moose peered at us from atop a factory building

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An Attorney  Moose - what a fun one!  Holding a briefcase in his mouth, a hat on his head, wearing a white shirt & tie, the Wall Street Journal tucked into one pants pocket, a comb in the other.  Money & other financial newspapers at its feet.  Notice the watch around its ankle.  No detail is overlooked!  Named "A Day at the Office" in front of an attorney's office.

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"Road Trip" at a Subaru dealership

A "Moostang Convertible" at an antique car dealership 

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Note the beautifully restored car hauler truck & car here also:

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This moose is at the Covered Bridge Museum.  It appropriately has a covered bridge on its back.  Also skis on its feet representing a Vermont favorite pastime (two feet are tree roots).  Named "Anonymoose".

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A rich copper moose, complete with rivets and turquoise beads & buttons, named "Full Metal Moose" at a closed Ice Cream barn

Harley flames moose on the west side of town at a gas station.  Named "Mooscle Car" 

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Lest we forget the age of the settling of this part of the country, note the date on this cemetery across the street:

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Further west, the Big Moose Deli & Country Store looked like a great place to stop, but we were there too late and never got back.  Bummer.

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An expensive looking gold & red moose across the New York state line at the Man of Kent Tavern & Cafe, the moose is named "Nothing Gold can Stay"

Back to downtown Bennington, one we missed, showing all 4 seasons.  What fall colors on the trees on this moose!  Named "A Time for All Seasons"

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Inside the Covered Bridge Museum, a Native  American themed moose, named "The Abenaki Moose"

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Moooose looks like a Guernsey cow, we found it heading north out of Bennington

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"Appamoosa" at the Arlington Inn, Arlington VT showing a town scene of homes, right across its Appaloosa butt, in the beautiful setting of the Inn

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This moose was right inside the Hanneford Grocery Store, named "Moose Eye View" with a little scenery from all over Vermont.  The moose is surrounded by bottled drinks.  A humorous sight.

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BENNINGTON MUSEUM (United States Pottery Co) and


(the largest public collection of Grandma Moses paintings in the world; she lived in Bennington for two years during her long & productive life)

Bennington VT

No photographs were allowed of Grandma Moses' paintings, though we were able to get more up close and personal than we thought for such famous works.  An excellent choice.

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A statue of Abe Lincoln and a downtrodden woman & child near the entryway of the museum, called "The American Spirit" -  Faith, Charity, Hope

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Hibiscus just to the right of the museum entry.  Beautiful

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A gold bronze eagle inside the main entrance

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In the gift shop, a framed picture of a black bear and the header "As a matter of fact, I do go to the bathroom in the woods".  Hilarious.

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A distinct glaze on this primitive dated pottery.  We have a bowl and pie plate that was made by the United States Pottery Company and fits right in with this beautiful collection.  Only made from: 1847-1858, parented by Christopher Webber Fenron.

Rockingham, named for the area in England where it was first produced, is yellow ware covered with a mottled brown glaze.  It was made throughout America and England.  To create the color, a brown derived from manganese and sometimes umber, is mixed in the glaze.  The glaze can be applied in numerous ways: by dipping a piece, using a brush or sponge, or a long flat piece of wood called a paddle.  White Ware is given a colorless glaze.

Standing Stag, 1852-1853

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Book flask by Lyman, Fenton & Co.

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Water cooler (without base), with images of the Apostles

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Poodle figure, 1847-1858.  Rockingham glaze, United States Pottery Co.

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Hound-handle pitchers, 1852-1858, U.S. Pottery Co.

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Cow Creamer, 1866-1869, E. & L. P. Norton & Co.

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A marble carving of sleeping children

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Pie plates, tea pots, bowls, book flasks, covered dishes,  etc. in this case made by United States Pottery Co., made in Bennington between 1847-1858

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Monument from the United States Pottery Co. display at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in New York City, 1853, with a Madonna figure on top

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Vermont has more covered bridges per square mile than anywhere else in the world, with 107 authentic covered bridges located throughout the state.

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Bennington VT

Daisies outside the Museum doorway

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Purple glass bowl above the entrance

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This display showed what herbs, leaves and berries were used to make all the dyes in the beautiful Native American blankets and textiles in this part of the museum.

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Glenn endured a photo wearing a bear cap

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What a great bit of Roadside Americana - a gorilla holding up a Volkswagon (North of Leicester VT on Hwy 7) at Pioneer Sales (used cars)

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In the town of Breadloaf, all the houses, B&B's and hotels were this butter color with green roofs.  Attractive!

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Scottish Highlander cows, near Pittsfield, VT (Hwy 100), and a picturesque small waterfall

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A typical view in Vermont, rolling green hills, picturesque barns, though most barns and many homes have cupolas.  We loved this.

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Approaching the Marble Museum, we crossed a bridge made entirely of Vermont white marble

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And a Fire Department entirely made of the white marble, what a monument to the marble quarried here

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The largest marble museum in the WORLD!

Link to view the Virtual Tour on:

Rocks Page 10


 Proctor VT.  Known for 19 "proscenium arches", 84 stained glass windows, 13 fireplaces, Far Eastern and European furnishings, housed on 115 acres (including across the street, a 2nd building).  We did not take the tour but what an impressive architecture.

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South of the Marble Museum, we found access to the river and Mead Falls and a Vermont Marble Power station made of marble overhanging the river.  An impressive marble block wall buttressed a parking lot above (Old Falls Road).

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A picturesque white church and low marble building in downtown Middlebury VT

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A restaurant called Starry Night Cafe near Ferrisburgh VT (unfortunately closed when we came by). Once a cider press, it features a hand carved wooden bar and twinkling starlights and unique artwork inside, and multi- colored hand blown glasses.  We will try to visit another time!  Great iron & wood statues of a man, a tree and deer outside.  And another covered bridge.

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A great winged Clock on the wall of the Old Brick Store (Charlotte VT) near the ferry to New York

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Terrific brick buildings all over downtown Burlington VT

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Abenaki legend holds that Odzihozo, creator of the Champlain Valley, turned himself into a rock island which can be seen nearby.  One of 50 statues (1 in each state) by Peter Wolf Toth in honor of its Native-American citizens.

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Heidi's HUGE half sandwich of sourdough bread & turkey, downtown Burlington.

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A street musician (also downtown Burlington) played numerous instruments at once.  Stuffed animals and trolls dangled everywhere.  What fun!

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Hartland, VT

We had actually gone hungry several times on our week in Vermont, We depended on finding good food in small towns (one of a kind restaurants rather than franchises), only to find some were closed until winter (Ski tourism areas) or closed/on vacation or signs with No Public Restrooms. So to find Stella's Restaurant with plenty of GOOD, WHOLESOME fresh foods and friendly smiles made this restaurant an oasis.  Strangely, it was not shown on the GPS but certainly deserves to be.  This restaurant earns our Best Breakfast in Vermont award.

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(Outside of Windsor VT)

They specialize in HIGH QUALITY clear functional heavy glass items that are beautiful to use and display, intended for a lifetime of use.  You can watch them being hand blown and finished.  Glenn bought a beautiful bud flower vase that will be an heirloom piece we will enjoy for many years.

Founded in 1971, it originated as a small glass workshop in Kilkenny, Ireland.  They moved to Vermont, several locations here.


More information on their history:

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Starting with a glass from granules as shown in the bottle, melted in the huge kiln (below)

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A glob of glass is put on a dop stick to start cooling and shaping it using a wooden scoop with a handle.  View of the entire shop too.

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Pinching the top with a special tool

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Beginning to shape it in the mold into the four-sided bowl it will be

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A wood block against the bottom helps finish that part

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A partner now takes a small glob of glass, imprints a cross in it (their signature)

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The partner now attaches the cross imprint glass to the glass bowl and takes it from the original glassblower

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He continues shaping & re-heating the bowl using several tools

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Then trims away the edge to make it smooth.  The trimming are re-kilned to use again

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Another pressing into the mold for final shaping

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These are the 2 designs they have been working on today, a glass and a bowl

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A two level store displays different glass blowing tools on the stairwell

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Some of the glassware on display

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and the surprise full 2nd floor store, amazingly displayed as a gallery

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On the same property.  A 2nd floor catwalk overlooks the entire pottery operation.  Once again, a beautifully made building

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Slip casting area; liquid clay is poured in a mold, left 45 minutes, excess clay drained.

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Making chip & dip bowls, notice the barrels of slip

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Coffee mugs

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The Potter's steps

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We did not see individual pots being made this day.

TRIMMING - Seams and other imperfections are smoothed. 

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RAM PRESS - compressed with 1500 pounds per square inch (making plates)

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Pug Mill.  Excess clay ground and re-mixed to re-use, making tubes of clay

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Bowls, vases & plates ready for the glaze kiln

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Glaze Kiln, to finish the pots with beautiful color.  This kiln takes 800 pots per firing, it takes 8 hours to reach 2350 degrees, then 12 hours to cool.

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Called the "Birthplace of Vermont", the restored Old Constitution House looks as it did more than 200 years ago. 

Windsor, VT

The first constitution in America to prohibit slavery, allow men to vote without requiring property ownership, and authorize a public school system was adopted here in Windsor, Vermont in 1777.

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Less than a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, another new Republic was taking shape. Delegates from the newly independent Republic of Vermont gathered at a tavern in Windsor to draft a constitution.  The constitution guided the Republic for 14 years until 1791, when Vermont was admitted to the Union as the 14th state.


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Built in 1866, it is the longest wooden bridge in the U.S. (460 feet long) and the LONGEST TWO-SPAN covered bridge in the WORLD.  Originally a toll bridge.

We drove through it from both ends.  Note the sturdy struts & bolts holding it together.

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Taking a moment to photograph a Queen Anne's Lace beside the road

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A collection of machinery and tools that changed the world.

Housed in the building that was the birthplace of this country's modern system of industrial design & production - a large brick armory Robbins & Lawrence built in 1846 to manufacture guns & machinery.  The zoom on Glenn's camera picked up the eagle atop the cupola I could barely see.

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For instance, a gunsmith used to take 8 days to make a gun by cutting the wood stock, forging the metal arts, shaping & trimming them to work correctly.  He would then fit all the parts together and adjust each so the gun would fire properly.

In the 1840's, Robbins, Kendall & Lawrence, gun makers from Windsor, VT, developed machines that could do the repetitive tasks required of the gun maker, and produce each part of the gun to identical measured specifications.  Gun parts could now be interchanged for quick repair in battle.  They could now make 8 guns in a single day.  This became known as the "American System" of precision manufacturing.  They took their ideas to London for the Great Exposition in 1851 and were instant celebrities.  The British Army ordered 25,000 rifles and 138 gun making machines to make guns at the Enfield Armory in England.  A quantum leap for the Industrial Revolution.

After the war, the "American System" was adapted to make typewriters, sewing machines, and our modern machinery as we know it!

On exhibit are wood & metal lathes, grinding machines and many other machines & hand tools dating from the 1830's to the mid 20th century.


Our favorite part was the two MECHANIZED MINIATURE TOOLS DISPLAY 

made by John Aschauer, a German immigrant from Michigan.  He spent 40,000 hours making these working, moving mechanized miniatures.

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Shown left to right, with the schematic showing what they are below it

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The 2nd display, the machines at the top to bottom are the right-to-left schematic:

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UPDATE 7/27/10  Hi, Heidi - Just want to say thanks for putting some pictures of John Aschauer's machines on your site.  He's my grandfather and I haven't seen those machines in awhile.  I grew up playing in his workshop while he worked on them so it's great to see people still enjoying them.  I Googled his name just out of the blue and it led me to your site.  I'm thinking I need to plan a trip to Vermont based on your travels!   Thanks much!


A postcard of a waterfall beside the American Precision Museum

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And we found white marble with grey veins right there beside the road and the waterfall.

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A brick apartment complex in Windsor.  Renovating at a cost of $26 million including all new windows.  What a beautiful complex.

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We've never heard of "Scarified" pavement before.  It means "making shallow cuts" so I guess it's appropriate.  But funny!

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The Vermont Country Store in Weston Vermont.  We have ordered from their mail order catalog.  "Stocked to the rafters" with hard to find products and brands from your past.  True.

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And lovely flowers cultivated there as part of their landscaping:

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Putney, Vermont


We had an outlet in Myrtle Beach SC for many years, they have hundeds if not thousands of basket styles for sale.  Now this is their only (and original) retail outlet here in Vermont.  We'd always wanted to buy their basket SHARK which has never been for sale.  We never dreamed they  had SO MANY BASKET CRITTERS hanging in their large, impressive store!  (none of these are for sale).  We had a blast photographing all of them.  We also appreciated the happy daisies out front.

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The inviting foyer, showcase and Tiger in showcase

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Group of fish & sharks, and view of the 2nd floor

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Swordfish, and diving Eagle

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The coveted huge Shark

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A mean, twisting shark!  Another of the swordfish

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Mickey Mouse on the stairway to greet us!

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Unicorn head

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Bull head

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Rocking horse

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Okay, a Dragon Dinosaur Rooster Head?

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Moose head

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A caught King Salmon

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Portion of a huge collection of tractor seats displayed on the 2nd floor ceiling

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A third shark

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A Roaring tiger in the rafters

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A leopard skulking in the rafters

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Roaring Lion

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Elephant deep in the rafters

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A fierce Dragon

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Angel fish

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Spotted giraffe

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T-Rex dinosaur, Scary!

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Historic Inn and Country Lodge, built in 1771


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Recommended by our hotel (within walking distance of the Hampton Inn), we ate a lovely dinner and breakfast here before flying home.  Heidi's Mom used to refinish primitive antiques as a career.  Seeing all the primitives in this lovely restaurant & hotel was like a visit home for her.

View from the front, and from the back with the Bakery entrance:

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The Publick House (on Sturbridge Commons) and the town of Sturbridge have a long history as a meeting place and crossroads and fording place for Pilgrims and even earlier, for the Native American people.  Benjamin Franklin placed a milestone for mail carriers as "67 Miles from Boston".  You can read more on the history at the link above.

A comfort food dinner of Thanksgiving Turkey for Heidi, and Shepherd's Pie for Glenn.  Unforgettable.

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Breakfast the next morning to top off a wonderful trip:

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A view of the gigantic original fireplace in the main dining room

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Flowers at the Publick House

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Ending our trip with two more historic buildings...

Copper Stallion Restaurant, full of ivy.  We'll have to dine there next time!

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Blackington Building, Sturbridge MA, circa 1880

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"Wings over the Neuse" in honor of Ted Sampley

The only  Civil War ship rebuilt to actual size.  Help build the CSS Neuse II .

In Kinston, North Carolina


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We enjoyed viewing the huge gunboat replica, though the food venue was not open.

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JULY 2009

LINK to view the Virtual tour to the 

WHALING MUSEUM in New Bedford Mass. (July '09)Opals Page 6

Link to view the Private Museum of Sharks & Fossils 

of George Powell, NC:Sharks Pg 16


When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take away HALF the clothes, and TWICE the money.

(Susan Heller, writer)


JULY 2009



Where else but at the edge of the Charles River to watch the fireworks!

Even the plane had American flags painted on its wingtips

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But first, some of the local sights in Boston and Cambridge, and N of  Cambridge
Maury's Deli, huge sandwiches, we felt pampered here

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Unicycle juggler and comedian

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Entertainment would not be complete without bucket music!

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A silver cowgirl, live statue performance

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Our love affair with bridges is unending...

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A flower market in the center square had the most marvelous arrangements & colors of flowers and orchids.  Real flower heaven

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Parade and re-enactment to begin shortly, so the young men must have sustenance!  We are in the beautiful Quincy Market building which is ALL food.

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Broiled sea scallops & bacon, yum!  Yes, it IS as good as it looks. 

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The parade/Revolutionary War Re-enactment

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What a cool hat!

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Boston Duck Tours, cute!

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An interesting and colorful set of highway markers in a bird/peace design along the edge of the road, downtown Boston

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One of the Harvard Law School buildings on the Cambridge side of the river

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A typical New England church, in Cambridge.  Love the architecture of the stone buildings and churches.

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Literally, a House boat

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A lobster man waving to us to come to their restaurant, somewhere north of Cambridge

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A HUGE pile of firewood, with an American flag waving proudly from on top

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Walking to the Charles River, still on the Cambridge side, here's a great T-Rex in front of a museum

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Across the street from the dinosaur, we saw another proud American flag flying above this industrial complex

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FIREWORKS!  Woo hoo!


The first photo shows the reflection of the fireworks in two of the high rise buildings downtown.  Tres cool! And an awesome finale!  Here are choices of photos from Heidi's Camera

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And from Glenn's camera, which creates a rainbow confetti look to some of the flashes.  The last photo clearly shows the fireworks shooting off a boat in the middle of the Charles River

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Cherokee, North Carolina (May 2009)

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(Heidi, at the Big Boy's, Heidi's favorite hamburger from her childhood

Black bear with Native American masks, mountains, ocean and salmon, called "Trail of Tears & 7 Clans"

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A picnic by the river, on a brown bear, "Harmony of Life".  Note the Head details too

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White bear, brown/white designs, beautiful!  Called "Pottery Bear"

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Brown bear showing Native people at a Fair with ferris wheel, called "Fair Bear"

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Fierce Bald headed eagle face, and Native Warrior, called "Eagle Dancer Bear"

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Black bear with beautiful red & blue design, called Cherokee Sunset

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Triangle designs, called "Legendary Sunrise"

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POW-MIA theme, with an American Flag, called "Patriot Bear"

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Black bear showing many fish species

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Alphabet letters, a floppy hat and pipe

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A wizard wrapped in a snake, and a running wolf

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Cherokee Youth Center theme, called Children's  Mixed Bear"

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Bear with magnificent deer and hawk, and dancing warrior, titled "Forefathers"

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Another green bear, called "Bear on the Little Tennessee"

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Black bear with orange design on legs

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Green forest bear

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Bear with beautiful white/black design and striped legs

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A man just caught a "Golden Trout" from the stream near the museum, what a beautiful fish!
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Though no photos are allowed, we were approved to take a few pictures in the gift shop of the beautiful mask groups for sale

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Two hornet's nests on display in another museum across the street.

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MAY 2009

A sanity trip to our kind neighbor's rental 


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Mountain Cabin in the Smoky Mountains outside Sevierville / Pigeon Forge.


Yes!  You can rent it, we recommend it!  (3 level log cabin, 2 bed, 2 bath, jet tub, outdoor hot tub, pool table, foos ball, air hockey, spectacular views, Arts & Crafts community close by, oodles of good restaurants to choose from, as well as all the attractions of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge).  Need we say more?  How about "free weekend giveaways"?

We laughed out loud when we realized this huge log cabin community perched on the mountainside was OUR lodgings for the weekend.  Yes, the locals hate it, though it brings a lot to the economy of the area.

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Yes, this is really the view from the windows and from the balcony of  the Smoky Mountains.  How Zen is that?  Notice how the fog begins to gather in the evening, then burn off as the morning wears on...

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A real castle WAY in the distance on a mountainside

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Other views of the mountain cabin & neighbors

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Outdoor hot tub & rocking chairs on the deck

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Lower floor game room

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Upper floor, pool table, TV, DVD etc. which overlooks the main floor

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Overlooking the main floor from the pool room balcony

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Main floor - living room & dining room

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Kitchen and view towards entry door, stairs up, and stairs down

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Main floor bedroom

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Lower floor, Master bedroom

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Okay, so  Glenn put too much soap in the jet tub!  What a hoot!  This is the lower floor's Master Bathroom

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Beautiful myrtle bush at a local restaurant

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A superb large meal at the Alamo Steak House restaurant in Sevierville

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Sevier County Courthouse downtown, a beautiful gold capped (Seth Thomas) clock tower (1895)

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Isaac Dockery (1832-1910), brick mason, responsible for the beautiful brick work around town including the courthouse

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The Army War Memorial, eagle statue atop

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Bronze statue of Dolly Parton

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Wonderworks amazing Upside down building, Pigeon Forge TN

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APRIL 2009


Crystal River, FL

In Crystal River at the City Hall, we found a painted manatee out front and on the building

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Glenn and I decided to go "outside the box" and swim with the manatees.  I (Heidi) have never put on a wetsuit or used a snorkel.  Really.  We chose the American Pro Diving Center 

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They are a professional service with well trained divers and instructors.  We saw an instructional video, plenty of stern talk about being near an endangered animal and what is and is not acceptable behavior on our part.  We appreciated the honesty and it made us very careful and respectful.

We had waterproof cameras, but were juggling so much equipment (wet suit, prescription goggles, snorkel, flippers, laying on a life jacket) plus getting to where the manatees were and staying with them, that our photos were poor.  Fortunately, our guide took extensive video of us and the manatees which was sold as a DVD when we returned to the shop.  I therefore took photos of the DVD for the underwater shots below.

A fishing boat full of pelicans hitching a ride

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An adult manatee visible in the shallow water of a cove

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Our pontoon motored through the main canal and a few coves before the guide found a mother and young manatee feeding in about 3 feet of water that were docile and not moving fast.

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Here we are touching & photographing the manatee but not interfering with its feeding

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Looking toward the pontoon

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Taking a breather above the surface

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Heidi's keeping an eye out for more manatees from the back of the boat

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We came quite close to a small island full of nesting cormorants (hooked beaks) and/or anhinga birds (straight beaks)

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A female manatee with tracking device attached, sleeping but coming up every few minutes to breathe

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Heidi swimming out with the others to see this female manatee

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On board again, having hot chocolate on the way back, another nice touch, thanks to the dive service

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That's my Glenn!

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The whole group except the guide who is taking the photo

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Idle speed in manatee zone

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APRIL 2009


In Crystal River, our sightseeing boat motored up a river to the mouth of the Gulf.

A crab fisherman with lots of pelicans following to get whatever they can

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Heidi, enjoying the view

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A bald eagle and nest high in a tree

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at the roadside, Hwy 19, exceptionally large pieces for sale

Three manatees, still in the crate

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Large octopus

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Manta ray

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(near Gulf Hammock or Otter Creek, FL)

Extensive number of shells, and hanging shark and other marine critters displays for sale

Manatee display

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Great white Shark

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Fish carved from driftwood

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Hammerhead shark

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Another hammerhead shark

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Another great white shark

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A cute rusty alligator

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Synthetic LARGE shells on display

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FEBRUARY 2-15, 2009


El Paso TX, Deming NM, Tucson & Phoenix AZ, California

TUCSON, Arizona gem shows

The "egg" is probably the most perfectly formed natural amethyst geode of its size ever found, formed in Uruguay and formed by a bubble of gas trapped in volcanic lava 130 million years ago.  Fine calcite crystals are also within the amethyst.  Weight:  4.3 tons.  Auctioned off that night.

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Another  huge amethyst geode inside at the J.O.G.S. gem show

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Other crystal and citrine geodes at the Day's Inn gem show:

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A terrific bug suitcase at another show in Tucson:

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Rooster Cogburn OSTRICH RANCH

Picacho Peak, Arizona


Though we did not go on the tour, we enjoyed the store, and stocked up on ostrich feather dusters and added a small one to use on computer keyboards.  Perfect!  Here is their contact info.  They also sell empty and full ostrich eggs and other products.  An ostrich feather duster is the only duster in the world that actually picks up dust.

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Half a mile from the ostrich farm is a GREAT nut store

Out front is a blooming cactus, beautiful barrel cactus and a handkerchief decorated cactus Cowboy that reminds us of an antenna decoration we had that we called Jorge:

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GOURD FEST, February 6-8, 2009


Casa Grande, Arizona

BABY Sicilian Burro

At the Wuertz farm where the gourds are grown, we saw a baby burro and couldn't resist petting it before heading down to the show at the Fairgrounds, especially since Glenn used to raise this Sicilian breed and has a special place in his heart for them:

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 (Heidi is famous for closing her eyes at the wrong time, this just shows a beautiful array of gourds at the show)

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Tiger & cubs

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Bald eagle

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Zebra, in the distance you see a Lion

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Rope design like a necklace over an open area

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cut out pattern like dead cactus

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Native American style IGUANA, dot pattern

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Beautiful MASKS with feathers

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Two shots of this MASK

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Blue collar design with an edging of gemstone chips

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Aboriginal SNAKE

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An exceptional JELLYFISH, two views

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A gourd race called The Running of the Gourds! You can guess how this is done

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A crazy moving gourd man seems to pull this carriage, what a hoot

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This one is pulled by a real gourd MAN, note the fringe of gourds too

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Not a gourd but a beautiful burl wood bowl

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OSTRICHES, made of gourds

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Native American  colorful design, with long pine needle edging like a necklace

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Gorgeous red gourd with the long pine needle edging

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Gourd with long pine needles and a deer horn

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A White buffalo gourd on a turntable, enjoy all the views

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Colorful watercolor gourd

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One of my favorites, a Picasso geometric designed gourd

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A cowboy boot bird house, above the Jumbo Smoked Turkey Legs Booth

WYATT EARP, California Post Office/Cemetery

On the border of Arizona & California, in California

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Wyatt Earp fled Arizona to avoid prosecution, and retired to the nearby Whipple Mountains.  This little community, formerly called Drennan, was renamed in 1930 in his honor.  He is buried in Colma, California, but there are honorary cemetery markers for him and his gang here

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Post office, renamed for Wyatt Earp

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Water tower

The honorary cemetery markers.

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Close up of the cemetery markers

RIP, Wyatt Earp, a Legend in his own Time; 

Mute Moe - he was silent but deadly; and 

One-eyed Jake, got his eye poked out with a cue when caught cheating at pool

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Casino / Indoor Water Park

Parker, Arizona (close to Wyatt Earp CA)

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A great railroad bridge on the way into Parker, Arizona

Blue Water Resort & Casino (Parker, AZ)

A spectacular atrium with 4 pools at 4 levels, a spa, and 15 waterfalls as an indoor water park, overlooking the Colorado River and marina and much more.  All 200 rooms overlook the river.  Wonderful place.

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And a local species of bird feeding near the edge of the river:

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We  missed seeing our wholesale customer Maria when we stopped to visit.  Great mural, lots of terrific stuff!

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Boulder City, Nevada

This is a Nevada solar project, really huge.

Sempra Generation said the project, called Copper Mountain, will be built adjacent to Sempra's existing 10-megawatt El Dorado solar farm near Boulder City, Nevada

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Will run parallel to the Hoover Dam, and no traffic will be allowed over the bridge once it's done.  Views are first of incredibly blue Lake Mead, going from Nevada over to the Arizona side, then back over to Nevada.  A massive operation, we have eagerly watched its development since we left Vegas in 2002 and came back once before this (see other Latest Travels pages for earlier views)

Creeping closer inch by inch 900ft above the mighty Colorado River the two sides of a $160 million bridge at the Hoover Dam inAmerica slowly take shape.

The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can be seen twisting and winding around and across the dam itself.When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona . In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete arches which jut out of the rock face.

 The arches are made up of 53 individual sections each 24ft long which have been cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane strung between temporary steel pylons.

The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000ft across. At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge. But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side will be removed. 

Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road. The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan.

Work on the bridge started in 2005 and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day. 

The dam was started in 1931 and used enough concrete to build a road fromNew York to San Francisco . The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead, is 110 miles long and took six years to fill. The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936. 

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This one photo is a June 11, 2009 update, thanks to our friend Doug in Boulder City; 2nd overview photo from the Bridge website:

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Heidi, on the Arizona side

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Heading back to the Nevada side, always a different view:

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November 21, 2009 UPDATE


Taking shape, the new bridge at the Hoover Dam
Creeping closer inch by inch, 900 feet above the mighty Colorado River, the two side of a
$160 million bridge at the Hoover Dam slowly takes shape.

The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can
be twisting and winding around and across the dam itself..

When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona .
In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete
arches which jut out of the rock face.

The arches are made up of 53 individual sections each 24 feet long which have been
cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane strung between temporary steel pylons.  The photography below is amazing.

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The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000 feet across.  At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge.  But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side
will be removed. Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road.

The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football
player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan. Work on the bridge started in 2005
and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day.

The dam was started in 1931 and used enough concrete to build a road from New York to San Francisco . The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead , is 110 miles long and took six years to fill.
The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936.

An extra note:  The top of the white band of rock in Lake Mead is the old
waterline prior to the drought and development in the Las Vegas area.  It is over 100 feet above the current water level


photo credits to our friend Doug in Boulder City

You can see how they graze right next to the tennis courts in Hemingway Park, on the other side is a picturesque view of Lake Mead and the mountains leading to the Hoover Dam

I have posted the photos here for continuity in theme, though they were taken a month after our trip

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A night Vegas drive down the Strip is always a beautiful sight.  The Stratosphere, Paris, Bellagio, Camelot, and the famous Vegas sign
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Baker, California

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Link below to see the tour of the WHOLE STORE

Virtual Tour Alien Fresh Jerky Store


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A wonderfully colorful place, saturated with Greek Pride.  Lists of Famous Greek People, distances of cities from Greece. A welcome change from the desert scenery.  Just a block from the Alien Fresh Jerky store.  Good strong Greek coffee too!

between Barstow and Primm on the I-15 Freeway

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How hot does it get in Baker, California?

Hot enough to MELT GLASS.  This is in the Alien Fresh Jerky Store

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Ever see a road named Zzyzx Road?  You will just west of Baker, California

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5 & Dime  Store, and Diner-Saur Park

I-15 Freeway and Ghost Town Road

Yermo, California


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Another refreshing stop at a new Dinosaur Park added to the 50's Diner.  The Gift Shop at the 50's Diner is certainly worth the stop too.

Welcome to Peggy Sue's Paradise Park

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Plenty of huge dinosaurs to enjoy, even a giant tortoise.  The edging of the path are round stones that resemble dinosaur eggs.  A kid's wonderland.

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This poor fellow doesn't stand a chance against the Stegosaurus below him

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The cute Diner-Saur Store

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Even King Kong!

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LINK to 

Virtual Tour 

Page Museum La Brea Tar Pit, 

Los Angeles California

February '09

Fossils Page 12


Here we are!

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A plaque in commemoration of all the Military Veterans of the USA.

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Surfers having fun, the Los Angeles skyline

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Seagulls, and ladies on a bench feeding the birds

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Cargo s

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The Los Angeles skyline, and people walking on a breakwater, and a lighthouse on the point

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The brass seal sculpture at the beginning of the pier

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"touching toes to the surf" to make the Pacific Coast trip official

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The oil platform near the horizon

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In Huntington Beach (along PC 1 Highway), it is not  unusual to see the oil rigs right next to the road and next to homes or hotels

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Look closely above the blue car next to this hotel, there is an oil rig there, the close-up photo is beside it:

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A block away from the hotel, note the oil rig in the back yard of the gas station:

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WIND FARM, INDIO, California
  We always look forward to seeing the wind farm, it is a destination view in itself, there are just so MANY:

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Phoenix, Arizona

(February 2009)

Although the cactus growths viewed from the winding paths of the Botanical Garden are an amazing attraction in themselves, the addition of Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures add another whole dimension that was breathtaking

I will group the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures together here, though they were tastefully mixed with the cacti and flowers along the paths

Names of the glass are my own

Lime green glass "cacti"

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My favorite Dale Chihuly "Mardi Gras glass" piece

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Christmas in the desert!

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Blue stalks of glass

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Orange bulbs

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A huge blue globe/sphere was a great central piece

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A towering twizzler of yellow glass that had bulbs to be lit up at night, I'm sure it would be awesome

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Curl top green stalks, a huge tree as a backdrop

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Graceful orange stalks of glass

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Intricate stone work in a terraced area

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Lavender stalks amongst the Saguaro, near the Quonset shaded area

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Metallic green textured cones resemble alien cactus

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Beluga glass

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Octopus glass

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Fluted blue glass shafts

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Tall clear droplets of glass

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Orange "party balloon" glass

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Glass "chandeliers"

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Another "chandelier" of orange textured glass

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Glass like a giant cluster of grapes

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Huge blue chandelier called "The Nature of Glass", is 13 feet long

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Red stalks of glass

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A weathered rowboat with blue & purple glass, what a beautiful arrangement

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A wow display of glass bowls in the sunlight of a lovely Ottosen Gallery within the Botanical Gardens

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Not all identified, names are my own descriptions unless shown

February and extra rainfall brought out the best in the blossoming cactus

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Assorted cacti

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Cactus fingers

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They're getting away!

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"Star brain"

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You can imagine faces and animal profiles in many of the bumps of this amazing cactus

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A quonset shaded area, beautiful

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Cute roundies but prickly

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Prickly pear cactus

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HUGE magnificent Cactus with an unusual shape

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Mountain Aloe (Aloe Marloth, Botswana & Mozambique, South Africa

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Green tree

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Deuterocohnia brevifolia (from NW Argentina & Bolivia)

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Species of aloe vera

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Aloe distans, Western South Africa

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Interesting prickly stalk of cactus with leaves on top

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"Butter bean" cactus (my nickname for it)

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Attractive rose-shaped succulent

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Chocolate wafer cactus?  Something for everybody!

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Tree with succulent leaves

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Boojum Tree (Fouquieria columnaris), Ocotillo Family, from Baja CA and N. Mexico

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Heart shaped flat cactus 

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Barrel cactus

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Mammilaria compressa (Central Mexico) they look like they have cake frosting on them

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Mammillaria geminispina "Cristata", Central Mexico, I call it "Ball of Snakes"

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Mammillaria mystax (Central Mexico)

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Adorable but still prickly

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The snakes are out!  The snakes are out!

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A large willow-like tree.  Ironwood (Acacia estrophiolata), Mimosa family (Mimosaceae), Australia

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Queen Victoria's Agave (Agave victoria-reginae), Century-plant Family (agavaceae), North central Mexico

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Right in the parking lot was a green skinned tree that was enjoyable too

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Not all identified

Pink blossoms

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Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra Californica), Sonoran Desert

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Orange colored blossom

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Purple blossoms

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Succulent rose colored bloom

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Yellow Cactus flowers

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Yellow blossoms ready to bloom

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Orange flowers on succulent

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Beautiful orange blooms on a species of aloe vera

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Red/yellow blooms atop this cactus

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Happy face flowers

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Lavender Irises

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Yellow cactus blossoms

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These would make good cactus flower jelly!

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A riot of yellow blooms

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One regret, we found her as she was just completing her last work.  A wonderfully flamboyant costume (shown front & back) made her a Wow spot in the gardens that delighted the children

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To complete the "coast to coast" trip, here we are back at Myrtle Beach SC touching the Atlantic Ocean, home once again after touching toes to the Pacific Ocean just a few days before
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Not all who wander are LOST

(J  R R Tolkien)

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